I verified this scenario with few RHW projects and found that WinHelp file size is not ballooning up. Please see the details below of verification environment.
1) OS:- WIN7 32 bit.
2) MS Word version:- Office 2007.
3) RHW versions:- RH8 and RH 9.
4) Help file generated:- WinHelp 4 and WinHelp2000 format.
Please check for your working environment as this issue might be specific to some OS/MS Office version.
Thanks for the response.
My environment is as you listed except I am now using a 64-bit Win 7 machine running RH9 instead of the former 32-bit Vista running RH8
So three things changed at once - the hardware, the OS and the RH version. One or all of these may explain it.
It turns out that running out of space on the distribution CD has forced us to rethink the CD approach and realize it would be much smarter to distribute over the web, We should have figured that out years ago!
As they say - It's an ill wind that blows no good.....